Vermont Governor Phil Scott’s budget proposal includes a concept for cleaning up phosphorus pollution in the state’s waterways. He wants to find a way to harvest and resell it. But critics say he’s trying to avoid spending the money to do actual cleanup.
It’s known as Act 64 and the Vermont Legislature passed it in the last session. The Clean Water bill includes a requirement that agricultural regulations be made more stringent to prevent nutrient runoff into the state’s waterways. A draft of the new rules has been issued by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture and a series of public hearings begins Tuesday.
The final draft plan setting Lake Champlain’s allowable phosphorus levels is set to be released on Friday. The EPA and the state of Vermont have set a series of public meetings at the end of the month to discuss the plan.
Every three years the Lake Champlain Basin Program releases a report assessing the quality of Lake Champlain’s waters. The latest report indicates that despite continued efforts to lower phosphorus levels, they continue to increase.
The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation will study the possibility of creating a cap-and-trade system to reduce the amount of phosphorous pollution that runs into Lake Champlain from rivers and streams.
Regional representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency and officials from Vermont state agencies outlined proposed plans to control phosphorus runoff into Lake Champlain to key House leaders Wednesday.